How to Stain Your Deck

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Staining Your Deck

Staining a deck can be a stain on your day, especially if you don’t know how. Would you want to guess how to paint your car? Doing so could lead to splotches, uneven paint, and an overall less-than-quality job. If your deck has no stain covering on it, it’s wide open to various types of damage.

Some of these damages can be:

  • Wood rot
  • Fading color
  • Water damage

Nobody wants a deteriorating deck, so they choose to stain it for protection, and so have you. You could hire a professional painting contractor to take care of it, but you might want to see if you can do it yourself. If you don’t want to hire a painting contractor because they might scam you, read up on common painting contractor scams. Whether you decide to DIY or hire someone, staining a deck comes with many advantages.

The advantages of staining a deck are:

  • A less slippery surface when wet
  • Keeping the natural beauty of the wood
  • Stains even come in different colors so you can find the perfect match for your home

Stain your deck for a longer lasting, better-looking deck. If you’re a DIYer, this is the guide for you, so let’s get to it!

You can also learn how to paint your shutters >>

The Process to Stain Your Deck

Here are the materials and steps for protecting and beautifying your deck!

Materials Needed

Starting with the right materials for house painting is a must for a good job, so here’s a list of what you may need:

  • Stain products
    • stain remover for already stained/treated wood
      • follow up with stain and sealer remover neutralizer
    • deck wash for removing mold and mildew from unstained, pressure treated wood or composite decking
  • Roller for applying stain
  • Extension pole for roller
  • 4″ brush
  • Sanding pad
  • Broom
  • Hose/Pressure washer
  • Safety glasses

Then comes choosing the right stain for your deck.


Clear: Great for viewing the natural grains of the wood, but has the least amount of UV protection

Toner: A light color that highlights the grain in the wood and has good durability

Semi-transparent: A rich, pigmented color which still allows the natural grains to show and has good durability

Solid: Cover up any blemishes for a long time with this best-in-durability stain

Now that you have all the necessary materials, it’s time to prep your deck!

Time to Prep the Deck

Let’s get your project off the ground!

Cleaning the Deck

The cleaning is the preparation and needs to be done correctly to avoid blemishes in the stain. Here’s a process you can follow:

  1. Use a broom to remove any leaves and debris
  2. Then, use a cleaner (avoid direct contact with skin) and allow it to set for around 15 minutes. Keep the area moist to allow the cleaner to better soak into the wood
  3. After 15 minutes, use a scrubbing brush to remove the cleaner’s residue
  4. A garden hose or pressure washer should be enough to rinse away the rest of the cleaner. For pressure washers, we recommend a 45-degree tip with a setting of 1200-1400 psi. Keep the hose about 12″ from the deck and spray with the grain to avoid damaging the wood
  5. After the deck is dry, sand away any residue left on any areas of new wood

Deck all nice and clean? Now it’s time to apply the stain!

Applying the Stain

This part may have the fewest steps to follow, but that doesn’t mean it’s easier than the previous parts!

  1. Going with the wood grain, apply a coating using the roller. For in-between boards and around posts, use the 4″ brush
  2. Allow drying for 24-48 hours

Avoid staining in direct sunlight for best results. Wait 4 hours before applying a second coat if you decide to do so

Now your deck has a new, beautiful look! But what do you do with the leftover paint?

Leftover Paint Disposal

Paint disposal can vary from city to city, so contact your local city or environmental regulatory agency for guidance. Pouring it down drains or storm sewers will more than likely damage the environment. You can also keep the paint for any future jobs you may have. Stains tend to need maintenance once per year, so you can keep the leftover stain for repairs.

New Deck Stain for Much Less Pain

Now your deck should have a wonderful new stain on it (weird how stain is a good thing here). Your deck has protection from weather and most anything else that can damage it and it looks like new! Enjoy the weather on your deck without worrying about harming the wood. Do you have another exterior painting project in mind?

Check out these tips on exterior house painting >>